Landon Mackenzie is widely admired for her immersive large-format paintings that are layered over time. Her iconic mark-marking references her research and personal experiences with geography, history and geometry. Included in this exhibition are new works from her ‘Time Machine’ series. With the title, Mackenzie pays homage to Joyce Wieland’s 1960’s painting of the same name that also has an orb motif, and is in the collection of the Art Gallery of Ontario. Mackenzie’s ‘Time Machine’ works are literally time-based, their surfaces evolving slowly over at least two years. They also share a strong visual likeness to a confluence of planets and other celestial bodies. In Time Machine No. 2, Mackenzie’s intuitive paths encourage readings of medieval stained glass or the mechanical workings of a clock. Time Machine No. 3, includes several opaque circles that create arresting optical illusions while also recalling moons in circulation. A third large-format painting, Pink Sky (Purple Bloom), presents a stunning example from her ‘Particle Paintings’ series, where hundreds of small dots ebb and flow, cluster and disperse. The particles can be interpreted on both a micro and macro level, relating to the constant flux of the world around us.
The theme of astronomy is carried into three smaller horizontal and vertical paintings that highlight Mackenzie’s ongoing interest in the moon. As a starting point in her research, she looked to the early navigation methods discovered by Galileo who charted the four moons of Jupiter in the early 1600s. Mackenzie also often refers to the moon as a centering and grounding force during her international and cross-Canada travels.
In the context of the exhibition, and central to Mackenzie’s practice, are several new works on paper. A more transportable medium, paper allows her to paint in different places and draw inspiration from new experiences. Throughout her career, she has completed several residencies, both self-initiated and appointed. Last June, she spent time in the Similkameen, a region known for its rugged dry sage landscape and river in southern British Columbia. Here she began her ‘Similkameen Series’ also referred to as Hidden Under Rocks. These works borrow from the minimal language she has always admired in the drawings of composer John Cage, as well as the earthly palette and specific terrain of the region.